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The Power of Dialogue: Art’s Impact on Adolescents with Classic Autism Amanda Newman-Godfrey Teachers College Columbia University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Power of Dialogue: Art’s Impact on Adolescents with Classic Autism Amanda Newman-Godfrey Teachers College Columbia University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Power of Dialogue: Art’s Impact on Adolescents with Classic Autism Amanda Newman-Godfrey Teachers College Columbia University

2 A Persona l and Professional Philosophy Takes Root Art education for students with exceptional needs deeply important to me Art education for students with exceptional needs deeply important to me Engagement with materials and dialogue around works of art foster interpersonal and intrapersonal communication (Kellman, 2001) Engagement with materials and dialogue around works of art foster interpersonal and intrapersonal communication (Kellman, 2001) Opportunity to engage with art materials or talk about works of art not always component of special education framework (Gerber, 2010; Loesl, 2010; Guay, 1999; Dalke, 1984) Opportunity to engage with art materials or talk about works of art not always component of special education framework (Gerber, 2010; Loesl, 2010; Guay, 1999; Dalke, 1984) Making and talking about art can prompt verbal responses that bridge the interior and exterior worlds of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Weed, 2005) Making and talking about art can prompt verbal responses that bridge the interior and exterior worlds of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Weed, 2005)

3 A Roadmap to Discoveries & Questions How can dialogue around reproductions of art foster expressive communication and descriptive language in adolescents with classic autism? How can dialogue around reproductions of art foster expressive communication and descriptive language in adolescents with classic autism? This pilot study shares how a dialogic process around reproductions of art could impact verbal, emotional, and social skills This pilot study shares how a dialogic process around reproductions of art could impact verbal, emotional, and social skills Further research is in process with an expanded mixed-methods case study and integrative literature review Further research is in process with an expanded mixed-methods case study and integrative literature review

4 Two Paths…Diverged or Merged? As a member of a school community that served individuals with special needs, found two distinctive approaches taken by special education colleagues when designing Individual Educational Programs (IEPs) which drove the educational framework of the school As a member of a school community that served individuals with special needs, found two distinctive approaches taken by special education colleagues when designing Individual Educational Programs (IEPs) which drove the educational framework of the school The first approach is clinical and pharmacological in nature, using scientific-based methods to diagnose and treat the health of the body and maintenance of the mind The first approach is clinical and pharmacological in nature, using scientific-based methods to diagnose and treat the health of the body and maintenance of the mind The second approach considers the whole person, including not only the nature and characteristics of a specific disability, but also social and emotional needs The second approach considers the whole person, including not only the nature and characteristics of a specific disability, but also social and emotional needs

5 Shared Goals? Perhaps … Research suggests that no one approach is more successful than the other, nor must they be mutually exclusive (Drew and Hardman, 2007; Heward, 2006; Greenspan and Weider, 1998) Research suggests that no one approach is more successful than the other, nor must they be mutually exclusive (Drew and Hardman, 2007; Heward, 2006; Greenspan and Weider, 1998) Both approaches share some common goals and aspirations such as addressing the individual needs of a child and promoting the development of in-school and in-life skills Both approaches share some common goals and aspirations such as addressing the individual needs of a child and promoting the development of in-school and in-life skills How can both approaches be layered into a conceptual framework while addressing individual and shared goals when applied to art-based experiences? (Morreau and Anderson, 1984; Copeland, 1984; Dalke, 1984; Clifford, 1981) How can both approaches be layered into a conceptual framework while addressing individual and shared goals when applied to art-based experiences? (Morreau and Anderson, 1984; Copeland, 1984; Dalke, 1984; Clifford, 1981)

6 Guiding Ideas: Considering a Third Approach Through practice and experience, thought about third approach to teaching art to students with ASD which considered both clinical and whole person needs Through practice and experience, thought about third approach to teaching art to students with ASD which considered both clinical and whole person needs What emerged was a possible art education framework for examining the verbal language, emotional and social development of a small group of adolescents with classic autism What emerged was a possible art education framework for examining the verbal language, emotional and social development of a small group of adolescents with classic autism

7 JENNY Jenny was identified by her teacher and in her IEP as being challenged in the ability to express emotions. It appeared as if the image triggered a deep emotional response with personal and reflective qualities Jenny was identified by her teacher and in her IEP as being challenged in the ability to express emotions. It appeared as if the image triggered a deep emotional response with personal and reflective qualities Suzanne Valadon, Girl on a Small Wall (1930) “I see a lady sitting. A lady looking at the flowers. A lady with her leg up. It feels soft. It reminds me of having peace and quiet. Watching the flowers. She’s thinking about someone who loved her. She feels sad”

8 Entering the Field: A Path to Even More Discoveries Personal experience with physical disability and a lifelong love of visual arts paved the way to discovering more about my students and myself Personal experience with physical disability and a lifelong love of visual arts paved the way to discovering more about my students and myself Gave students space and time to explore the qualities of materials, and independence to develop an expressive voice Gave students space and time to explore the qualities of materials, and independence to develop an expressive voice Lessons leveraged student abilities and interests with open-ended objectives, not designed with perceived limitations in mind Lessons leveraged student abilities and interests with open-ended objectives, not designed with perceived limitations in mind Began to take third approach informed by both whole person needs like communication, social and emotional connectivity, but also clinical needs to ensure materials, space, etc. were accessible Began to take third approach informed by both whole person needs like communication, social and emotional connectivity, but also clinical needs to ensure materials, space, etc. were accessible

9 Lessons Learned as Artist then Teacher then Researcher… Through personal exploration of art materials, I cultivated a trust in process, leaving room for unexpected outcomes and remained flexible Through personal exploration of art materials, I cultivated a trust in process, leaving room for unexpected outcomes and remained flexible Approach unsettled some of my special education colleagues however I cautioned against modeling art-making or art products Approach unsettled some of my special education colleagues however I cautioned against modeling art-making or art products Art classes framed student engagement in a way that provided freedom to explore and authority over choices and actions Art classes framed student engagement in a way that provided freedom to explore and authority over choices and actions As students settled into this new way of working, saw a shift in their behavior, actions, language, and independence, especially for students with ASD As students settled into this new way of working, saw a shift in their behavior, actions, language, and independence, especially for students with ASD

10 That Began to Forge a New Path By recognizing the need of the whole person to have an open-ended and active circuit into the larger world, instead of only responding to the closed-circuit symptoms of a particular disability, art activities became a vehicle for students to connect with their whole self By recognizing the need of the whole person to have an open-ended and active circuit into the larger world, instead of only responding to the closed-circuit symptoms of a particular disability, art activities became a vehicle for students to connect with their whole self Student voices and personal reflections led me to question what a third, less traveled road of an art education framework might look like that merges educational, social, emotional, and quality of life needs Student voices and personal reflections led me to question what a third, less traveled road of an art education framework might look like that merges educational, social, emotional, and quality of life needs

11 NICK Nick did not communicate easily with his peers, however, upon seeing a picture of a garden, he recounted to his conversational partner a personal story about how he plants in his garden with his mother and brother Nick did not communicate easily with his peers, however, upon seeing a picture of a garden, he recounted to his conversational partner a personal story about how he plants in his garden with his mother and brother “I see three girls and a bunch of flowers. I think they are just walking through a garden. Like when I am planting my garden at home with my family. [I feel] excited. It makes me feel overwhelmed.” Claude Monet, Son Jardin a Vetheuil (1880)

12 Initial Research Questions What might the nature of students’ verbal responses be to three sets of reproductions of naturalistic paintings that addressed themes such as people doing things together, single subject portraits, and children singularly or in groups? What might the nature of students’ verbal responses be to three sets of reproductions of naturalistic paintings that addressed themes such as people doing things together, single subject portraits, and children singularly or in groups? Would the different themes elicit distinctive responses and if so, how might students’ responses vary when considering the different dimensions of the paintings such as color, shape, or composition? Would the different themes elicit distinctive responses and if so, how might students’ responses vary when considering the different dimensions of the paintings such as color, shape, or composition? How might the use of descriptive verbal language such as adjectives, adverbs and feeling words or the expression of social and emotional connections to the imagery be impacted over the four-month period of the pilot study? How might the use of descriptive verbal language such as adjectives, adverbs and feeling words or the expression of social and emotional connections to the imagery be impacted over the four-month period of the pilot study?

13 Where the Paths May Merge Developmental approach to art education encourages self-expression, and fosters connections to the inner-self and outer world (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 1987; Hurwitz and Day, 1995) Developmental approach to art education encourages self-expression, and fosters connections to the inner-self and outer world (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 1987; Hurwitz and Day, 1995) It assumes holistic method to improving a student’s in-school and in-life skills by fostering critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, and imagination (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 1987; Hurwitz and Day, 1995) It assumes holistic method to improving a student’s in-school and in-life skills by fostering critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, and imagination (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 1987; Hurwitz and Day, 1995) Above goals can be applied and supported in the field of special education which strives to make every child the most successful, most functional, and most independent Above goals can be applied and supported in the field of special education which strives to make every child the most successful, most functional, and most independent

14 The Path Diverges Again: Two Understandings of ASD There are two primary understandings of disability which guide philosophical, pedagogical and therapeutic practices There are two primary understandings of disability which guide philosophical, pedagogical and therapeutic practices The Medical Model (AAIDD, 2010; DSM-IV Criteria) The Medical Model (AAIDD, 2010; DSM-IV Criteria) The Social or Individual Model (UPIAS; Oliver, 1975) The Social or Individual Model (UPIAS; Oliver, 1975) Much controversy exists not only in the definition of ASD, but also in terms of necessary educational supports, adaptations to the environment, and behavior interventions Much controversy exists not only in the definition of ASD, but also in terms of necessary educational supports, adaptations to the environment, and behavior interventions

15 The Clinical Face of ASD Group of developmental disabilities characterized by atypical development in socialization, communication, and behavior expressed by delays in cognitive functioning, sensory reception, learning skills, and attention to task Group of developmental disabilities characterized by atypical development in socialization, communication, and behavior expressed by delays in cognitive functioning, sensory reception, learning skills, and attention to task Diagnosis through clinical observation of child’s development by medical and educational specialists using diagnostic tools and DSM-IV criteria Diagnosis through clinical observation of child’s development by medical and educational specialists using diagnostic tools and DSM-IV criteria Includes classic autism, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (AAIDD, 2010) Includes classic autism, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (AAIDD, 2010)

16 JOSHUA Joshua appeared to have made a personal connection to an activity he enjoys and considered the feelings of others, a quality not typically associated with students with ASD. He was also able to respond to a topic introduced by the imagery, not by himself Joshua appeared to have made a personal connection to an activity he enjoys and considered the feelings of others, a quality not typically associated with students with ASD. He was also able to respond to a topic introduced by the imagery, not by himself “A man who is playing a guitar. I play keys on a keyboard. That music is good for our ears and our hearts. He feels happy because he likes his instrument. It makes me feel joy and happy like a musical genius, like a rapper.” Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist (1903)

17 Two-Dimensional View of Classic Autism Medical diagnosis of autism includes: deficits in planning skills, social interactions, functional communication, and cognitive ability. Behavior issues: stereotypical and self-injurious behavior, mood swings, aggression, and anxiousness (AAIDD, 2010) Medical diagnosis of autism includes: deficits in planning skills, social interactions, functional communication, and cognitive ability. Behavior issues: stereotypical and self-injurious behavior, mood swings, aggression, and anxiousness (AAIDD, 2010) Adolescence in ASD brings almost as many shifts in development as seen in young childhood, however, the emotional, social, and cognitive impact creates greater ripples in the formation of identity and integration into society and adulthood (Dotson, Leaf, et al., 2009) Adolescence in ASD brings almost as many shifts in development as seen in young childhood, however, the emotional, social, and cognitive impact creates greater ripples in the formation of identity and integration into society and adulthood (Dotson, Leaf, et al., 2009) With communication, individuals may experience verbal language delays, are challenged to follow conversational cues, have difficulty initiating and sustaining dialogue, and have impaired social skills (also know as social reciprocity) (Greenspan and Weider, 1997) With communication, individuals may experience verbal language delays, are challenged to follow conversational cues, have difficulty initiating and sustaining dialogue, and have impaired social skills (also know as social reciprocity) (Greenspan and Weider, 1997)

18 The Whole Person of ASD Controversy has led to the development of a social/individual model of ASD that considers the whole person along side of medical diagnoses and behavior characteristics Controversy has led to the development of a social/individual model of ASD that considers the whole person along side of medical diagnoses and behavior characteristics Heward (2006) and Greenspan and Weider (1997) write that children with ASD are loving, caring, thoughtful, and creative Heward (2006) and Greenspan and Weider (1997) write that children with ASD are loving, caring, thoughtful, and creative Disability advocates with Asperger syndrome, such as Temple Grandin (Visual Thinking) (1995) and Donna Williams (Artism) (1998), have provided much insight into their world through personal reflections and professional presence Disability advocates with Asperger syndrome, such as Temple Grandin (Visual Thinking) (1995) and Donna Williams (Artism) (1998), have provided much insight into their world through personal reflections and professional presence

19 The Path of Adolescence : Influences, Interests, and Artistic Exploration Adolescents naturally searching for ways to express feelings and ideas, fears and aspirations “about self and world”, as they explore through materials their connections to interior and exterior worlds (Burton, 1999) Adolescents naturally searching for ways to express feelings and ideas, fears and aspirations “about self and world”, as they explore through materials their connections to interior and exterior worlds (Burton, 1999) Lowenfeld and Brittain (1987) framework can embrace needs of adolescent with classic autism with balanced approach between teenage interests, opportunities for expressive outlets, and discussion and critique of artwork which could provide a vehicle for the increased use of verbal language Lowenfeld and Brittain (1987) framework can embrace needs of adolescent with classic autism with balanced approach between teenage interests, opportunities for expressive outlets, and discussion and critique of artwork which could provide a vehicle for the increased use of verbal language

20 JOEY Joey appeared to have read the image as a story, creating a narrative expressive of emotion and the lack of a personal experience of riding in a boat. According to his teacher and IEP, Joey does not speak long phrases nor does he understand social scenarios, however, he has apparently deciphered a familial relationship in this image Joey appeared to have read the image as a story, creating a narrative expressive of emotion and the lack of a personal experience of riding in a boat. According to his teacher and IEP, Joey does not speak long phrases nor does he understand social scenarios, however, he has apparently deciphered a familial relationship in this image Mary Cassatt The Boating Party ( ) “A mom, baby and a dad are riding in a boat ‘cause they want to go home. The man is rowing the boat trying to get the mom and the baby back home. Never been in a boat. They feel sad. Sad because they want to find a home.”

21 Social and Emotional World of Adolescents Csikszentmihaly and Larson (1984) make crucial argument asking educators to situate themselves in world of adolescents to comprehend trajectory, obstacles, and opportunities for young people Csikszentmihaly and Larson (1984) make crucial argument asking educators to situate themselves in world of adolescents to comprehend trajectory, obstacles, and opportunities for young people Their perspective helps teachers and researchers move away from the clinical model of disability by considering social and emotional needs along side functional needs thereby encouraging whole person approach Their perspective helps teachers and researchers move away from the clinical model of disability by considering social and emotional needs along side functional needs thereby encouraging whole person approach

22 The Importance of Looking: Visual Learning Berger (1977) and Arnheim (1969) provide ideas on how mind intakes visual information, processes it, makes meaning, and translates for understanding and application Berger (1977) and Arnheim (1969) provide ideas on how mind intakes visual information, processes it, makes meaning, and translates for understanding and application Looking at and responding to works of art can strengthen and enhance ability to translate visual imagery into verbal expression Looking at and responding to works of art can strengthen and enhance ability to translate visual imagery into verbal expression Strengthening visual translation skills could serve verbal language well by providing more opportunities for expression Strengthening visual translation skills could serve verbal language well by providing more opportunities for expression Arnheim (1969) stresses the importance of looking at art as a means of forging stronger connections to the world and to the inner self Arnheim (1969) stresses the importance of looking at art as a means of forging stronger connections to the world and to the inner self

23 A Pilot Study: Opening the Door Taken with how “issues” disappeared with opportunity to explore materials, experiment with personal meaning-making, and connect with peers in open environment Taken with how “issues” disappeared with opportunity to explore materials, experiment with personal meaning-making, and connect with peers in open environment Considered intersection of adolescence and ASD interesting space to observe behaviors, attitudes, and interests woven into the fabric of ASD Considered intersection of adolescence and ASD interesting space to observe behaviors, attitudes, and interests woven into the fabric of ASD Adolescent age (14-18 yrs) for several reasons: Adolescent age (14-18 yrs) for several reasons: Significant goal for transitional age IEPs is development of social and life-skills, community access and prevocational readiness requiring functional verbal language Significant goal for transitional age IEPs is development of social and life-skills, community access and prevocational readiness requiring functional verbal language Majority of research on early childhood due to high success of intervention techniques such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Majority of research on early childhood due to high success of intervention techniques such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

24 TERRY Terry used many descriptive words such as colors and feelings to narrate the image. He typically uses abbreviated language patterns and perseverates on his favorite topic, Pokémon Terry used many descriptive words such as colors and feelings to narrate the image. He typically uses abbreviated language patterns and perseverates on his favorite topic, Pokémon “Kind of sad, I saw a man with his clothes on, brick red wall, and his jacket is brown and this baby is wearing brown too, the roof is black too. The man is upset, these two men are leaving, it makes him angry. Ben made this picture, it looks upsetting.” Ben Shahn, Miner’s Wives (1968)

25 Mix in a Little Methodology… Four-month bounded unit case study collecting and examining verbal responses of 6 students (1 female & 5 male) adolescents with classic autism (14-18 yrs) Four-month bounded unit case study collecting and examining verbal responses of 6 students (1 female & 5 male) adolescents with classic autism (14-18 yrs) Facilitated dialogues in one-on-one and dyad settings using digital voice recorder to document verbal responses; transcripts generated to code Facilitated dialogues in one-on-one and dyad settings using digital voice recorder to document verbal responses; transcripts generated to code Sets of reproductions of paintings (19 th -21 st century artists) in 3 thematic groups: Sets of reproductions of paintings (19 th -21 st century artists) in 3 thematic groups: Families or people doing things together Families or people doing things together Portraits of single individuals or self-portraits Portraits of single individuals or self-portraits Children singularly or in groups Children singularly or in groups

26 And a Little More Methodology… Mixed-methods approach to gather quantitative data using case study with a multiple probe multiple baseline design, and qualitative data using a standardized open-ended interview design Mixed-methods approach to gather quantitative data using case study with a multiple probe multiple baseline design, and qualitative data using a standardized open-ended interview design Transcripts thematically coded using constant comparative method and examined for responses indicating student’s personal experience, awareness of social framework, and emotional expressiveness Transcripts thematically coded using constant comparative method and examined for responses indicating student’s personal experience, awareness of social framework, and emotional expressiveness Transcripts reviewed using observational codes and inter-scorer agreement to determine use of adjectives, adverbs and feeling words Transcripts reviewed using observational codes and inter-scorer agreement to determine use of adjectives, adverbs and feeling words

27 JUSTIN Justin appeared to have found a personal story in the image as his teacher said his bus is often late and he stays at school. He stated his response clearly instead of mumbling, a typical reaction especially when asked a direct question Justin appeared to have found a personal story in the image as his teacher said his bus is often late and he stays at school. He stated his response clearly instead of mumbling, a typical reaction especially when asked a direct question “The picture is walking from school. He stayed behind in school. Sad. Sad and mad.” Jusepe de Ribera, The Club-Footed Boy

28 The Dialogic Process Encouraged the students’ exploration of the paintings in three different layers by crafting questions that: Encouraged the students’ exploration of the paintings in three different layers by crafting questions that: (1) slowly drew students into the image by asking them to visually attend (1) slowly drew students into the image by asking them to visually attend (2) encouraged the students to explore the context or social scenarios depicted in the paintings and possible parallel experiences from their own lives (2) encouraged the students to explore the context or social scenarios depicted in the paintings and possible parallel experiences from their own lives (3) supported the reading of the emotional qualities of the subjects in the paintings and students’ expression of personal emotional connections (3) supported the reading of the emotional qualities of the subjects in the paintings and students’ expression of personal emotional connections All responses supported with positive verbal reinforcement to encourage student confidence and reciprocal dialogue All responses supported with positive verbal reinforcement to encourage student confidence and reciprocal dialogue

29 Following the Students’ Paths: Social and Emotional Responses Qualitative data from pilot study revealed emotional responses and personal connections to reproductions, drawing on past experiences and personal or family Qualitative data from pilot study revealed emotional responses and personal connections to reproductions, drawing on past experiences and personal or family Drawn into students’ stories and their worlds as they navigated around the images Drawn into students’ stories and their worlds as they navigated around the images Though the students’ narratives still wore the veil of autism in terms of functional language use, grammar, and perseveration on certain topics, their responses not unlike my own Though the students’ narratives still wore the veil of autism in terms of functional language use, grammar, and perseveration on certain topics, their responses not unlike my own

30 Following the Students’ Paths: Verbal Responses Responses demonstrated presence of expressive language and descriptive words such as adjectives, adverbs and feeling words Responses demonstrated presence of expressive language and descriptive words such as adjectives, adverbs and feeling words Quantitatively increased over time as measured in the multiple probe multiple baseline between phase patterns Quantitatively increased over time as measured in the multiple probe multiple baseline between phase patterns Why were students able to use expressive language, make personal connections, or demonstrate social and emotional awareness and sensitivity when clinical diagnosis indicates a deficit here? Why were students able to use expressive language, make personal connections, or demonstrate social and emotional awareness and sensitivity when clinical diagnosis indicates a deficit here?

31 Where Could the Road Merge to Form a Third Approach Special education colleagues called for other types of measured growth in the students as a result of participating in art Special education colleagues called for other types of measured growth in the students as a result of participating in art In designing pilot study, sought to bridge clinical approach by gathering quantitative data while maintaining whole person approach by using reciprocal dialogue, developmentally appropriate questions and naturalistic images with emotional or social scenarios In designing pilot study, sought to bridge clinical approach by gathering quantitative data while maintaining whole person approach by using reciprocal dialogue, developmentally appropriate questions and naturalistic images with emotional or social scenarios

32 Emerging Research Questions: Many New Paths to Follow Five areas of questions emerged which will require an even deeper review of the literature and an expanded study Five areas of questions emerged which will require an even deeper review of the literature and an expanded study Theoretical Theoretical Curricular Curricular Philosophical Philosophical Pedagogical Pedagogical Developmental Developmental

33 A Very Special Thanks To… Dr. Judy Burton…for inspiring me to pursue my passion and for always shining the light home Dr. Judy Burton…for inspiring me to pursue my passion and for always shining the light home Dr. Beverly Gerber and members of SNAE…for leading the way and forging a path when none existed Dr. Beverly Gerber and members of SNAE…for leading the way and forging a path when none existed Dr. Olga Hubard, Dr. Ami Kantawala, Dr. John Baldacchino and Dr. Graeme Sullivan…for pushing me out of the nest Dr. Olga Hubard, Dr. Ami Kantawala, Dr. John Baldacchino and Dr. Graeme Sullivan…for pushing me out of the nest My colleagues and students at Teachers College…for always being patient and holding my hand My colleagues and students at Teachers College…for always being patient and holding my hand And MOST of all…my students and former colleagues at CCMCo for being wonderful and generous spirits, mentors, inspirations, and for showing me the way And MOST of all…my students and former colleagues at CCMCo for being wonderful and generous spirits, mentors, inspirations, and for showing me the way

34 Contact Information Amanda Newman-Godfrey Teachers College Columbia University THANK YOU!


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